- Four Polish research establishments join forces to work together on improving nanodiamond technologies used in, for instance, advanced medical diagnostics, electronics and optics. The Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw is acting as the Consortium Leader while the research is being funded by the Foundation for Polish Science under the TEAM-NET programme. The allocated funds exceed PLN 18.5 million.
Nanodiamonds are tiny diamond crystals with a diameter of several dozen nanometers (i.e. millionths of a millimetre) and, as such, they are ever smaller than viruses. The nanodiamond is a relatively new material whose unique properties are currently being intensively examined in leading research establishments around the world, in terms of its possible application in oncology, both for cancer treatment and effective diagnosis, as gene carriers and as markers in precision magnetic resonance imaging. Technologies based on nanodiamonds are used in basic research, as valuable research tools, and soon they will be available for use in clinical conditions to improve the quality and speed of precise medical diagnosis.
Next generation biodiagnostics of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer
“Our Consortium will look into this application of nanodiamonds. One of our teams, which will be established in the Institute of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine (IBMM) in Gdańsk, under the supervision of Dr Paweł Schweiger and Dr Dawid Nidzworski, will work on new super-sensitive diagnostic methods, enabling rapid diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Nanodiamonds will be used to nanotag various substances and to study biological activity using magnetic resonance,” said Prof. Ryszard Buczyński, the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw.
Nanodiamonds, with the so-called colour centres, offer enormous research and application opportunities. Colour centres are natural or artificially introduced defects in the crystal structure of a diamond, capable of absorbing and emitting light at room temperature. “Nanocrystals with colour centres can be used as extremely accurate sensors of magnetic and electric fields, temperature and pressure. This subject matter will be further examined and developed on the basis of the latest achievements in quantum physics by a new research team to be formed at the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science of the Jagiellonian University, under the supervision of Prof. Wojciech Gawlik,” explained Prof. Ryszard Buczyński.
How to get a diamond origami
The production of nanodiamond is of paramount importance to the project. So far, obtaining good quality, geometrically reproducible nanodiamonds with controlled properties has proven to be a challenging task. A group led by Prof. Robert Bogdanowicz of the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics at the Gdańsk University of Technology developed a new method of synthesising and chemical modification of diamond nanoparticles into the so-called “diamond origami,” with designed geometrical parameters, and electrical and optical properties. The team will work on developing nanodiamond production technology under the TEAM-NET programme.
All the research related to the improvement of production methods and the application of nanodiamond in magnetometry, optics and biomedicine will be carried out by an interdisciplinary consortium composed of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw; the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science of the Jagiellonian University; the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics at the Gdańsk University of Technology, and the Institute of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine. The project will lead to the establishing of four new research groups and a technology platform for the production of nanodiamonds, providing access to these nanomaterials to local and international researchers.
The FNP TEAM-NET programme provides funding for interdisciplinary research carried out by a network of cooperating research teams managed by experienced and renowned scientists. The objective of the programme is to facilitate the implementation of innovative research in Poland, as well as to intensify supra-regional cooperation among research establishments, and to encourage more effective utilisation of the available research infrastructure and services. In line with the competition regulations, the budget of a research project may amount up to PLN 3.5 million per team for 36 months. Funding may be awarded for 36 to 48 months.
Applications for TEAM-NET were being accepted in October 2018, and in March 2019 the Foundation for Polish Science announced the competition results. Following a substantive evaluation of the applications, 11 out of 39 projects entered into the competition, qualified for funding amounting to over PLN 201 million in total.
The TEAM-NET competition is implemented by the Foundation for Polish Science and financed from the European Regional Development Fund under the Smart Growth Operational Programme.
Find out about other TEAM-NET awarded projects: